NTSB Identification: CHI96LA339A
Accident occurred Saturday, September 14, 1996 in HIGHLAND, IL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/29/1997
Aircraft: Piper PA-25, registration: N7753Z
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

A Piper PA-25 tow plane was used to tow a Blanik L-23 Glider (sailplane) to about 1,200 feet AGL, west of the airport. After release of the glider, the tow pilot returned to the airstrip and entered a right traffic pattern (from the east) to land on the runway for powered aircraft (powered runway 36). Meanwhile, the Blanik/glider pilot did not get the expected lift and had entered a left downwind for landing on the parallel runway for sailplanes (sailplane runway 36). Another sailplane was ahead of the Blanik, so the Blanik pilot extended the downwind turn to base. When he turned base leg, he was further from the runway and lower than normal. At about that same time, the PA-25 tow plane was on the base leg for the powered runway 36. Because the Blanik was lower than expected and because the other glider had just landed, the pilot of the Blanik chose to land on the powered runway, which could be used by gliders in emergency situations. The PA-25 pilot reported that she did not see the Blanik in front and underneath the PA-25. At about the time the Blanik touched down, the PA-25 landed on top of the Blanik, straddling the glider until both aircraft rolled to a stop. Both aircraft were owned and operated by the same sailplane soaring association, and neither aircraft was equipped with a radio.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

failure of the Piper PA-25 tow pilot to see-and-avoid the Blanik L-23 glider. A factor relating to the accident was: neither aircraft was equipped with a communication radio.

Full narrative available

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